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By Magnus Bäckstedt, Liquigas-Bianchi professional cycling team
Well that was quite a finish in Nancy, eh?
Thankfully, I missed the mess at the last turn… mostly because I got dropped on the last climb, got back on the descent and decided I didn’t have the legs to contest the sprint anyway, so I stayed back a little, think it was smarter to stay out of that last turn on wet roads.
Looking at the book this morning, you could just see that thing would be trouble in wet weather… especially with that crosswalk and all that white paint right on the turn. That stuff always makes things touch-and-go. As soon as it’s raining, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a turn, on the straight, coming through a little village or even going up a climb. If you hit it at the wrong angle, it’ll throw you to the deck faster than anything.
Coming into town today, Dario (Cioni) tried to give it a bit of a go. We had planned to send him off on that last hill, but we still had our teammate (Mauro) Gerosa off the front, so he couldn’t really try anything until he was back in the bunch. Once the field caught Gerosa, he thought he’d try something, but in those wet conditions, Dario really wasn’t willing to take any big risks going through town and you can’t really blame the guy for that. No one wants to come down in the Tour, especially this early and with the mountains coming up. Even if you don’t hurt yourself too much in the crash, it still takes a day or two to recover fully. It was a tough day on a lot of people.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, it’s a nice long and straight finish through Karlsruhe. Hopefully, I can get my act together and try something. Unfortunately, we may be facing the same sort of weather going into Germany. On the good side, there aren’t any turns over that last stretch, so it should be a good sprint all the way in.
We’ve been working for (Luciano) Pagliarini these past few days, but the team is pegging me for tomorrow. Whatever guys we have who can give a hand will be there to help me out. Markus isn’t feeling so good these days – he says his legs are feeling a bit “heavy” – so he won’t be able to do much. We’ve a couple of guys that have been in breakaways these past two days, so their probably going to be hurting a bit tomorrow, but Pagliarini and those guys are ready.
Let’s see how it goes.